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WayWORD Festival brings together top literary names for north-east event

By David Porter

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A student-led literary arts festival is set to take place from the September 19-26 with a vibrant blend of online and in-person events.

WayWORD is a literary arts festival by the WORD Centre for Creative Writing at the University of Aberdeen.

Workshops, author events, panel discussions and performance nights are all free and live online and include BSL interpretation.

Performers include Leila Aboulela, Graeme Armstrong, Claire Cunningham, Harry Josephine Giles, Kirstin Innes, A.L. Kennedy, Val McDermid, Zakiya McKenzie, Ely Percy, Karine Polwart, Dan Schreiber, Alan Warner, Irvine Welsh and Alex Wheatle.

Opening the event on Sunday, September 19 from 7.30pm - 8.30pm is New York Times Bestselling author (and Aberdeen graduate), Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé discussing her debut novel, the young adult thriller, Ace of Spades

She describes her debut novel as ‘a love letter to queer Black teenagers who feel powerless and alone finally finding their voices.’ She graduated from University of Aberdeen in 2021.

Ace of Spades is a compelling, incendiary and unputdownable thriller billed as Get Out meets Gossip Girl with a shocking twist.

Set in an elite private school, when someone begins spreading rumours about the only two Black students there, they are forced to fight, not just for their reputations, but for their lives too.

For those with an interest in Doric and Scots language on Wednesday 22 the Blue Lamp in Aberdeen hosts an extravaganza of north-east words, music and film with writers, performers and musicians, featuring Shane Strachan, Sheena Blackhall, Noon Salah Eldin, Affa Fine, SC&T Youth and Iona Fyfe.

Doors open at 7.30pm for an 8pm start.

On Friday 24 at 6pm (online) BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of The Year 2018, Karine Polwart performs as part of the festival

Songwriter, musician, theatre maker, storyteller, and author she also performs traditional songs and writes to commission for theatre, film, animation, and international thematic collaborative projects.

Recent projects include her Scottish Songbook re-imaginings of classic pop and The Lost Words: Spell Songs, a multi-artist response to environmental loss and climate breakdown.

​Saturday 25 at 6pm (online and in person) sees multi-award-winning crime writer Val McDermid, introduce her latest work, 1979, the first in a brand-new series of novels featuring Allie Burns.

Full details of the festival events including how to book free tickets can be found at https://www.waywordfestival.com/

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